Update: SGA President Issues Statement about “Rave”

FRIDAY APRIL 24 9PM
CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — The Student Government President issued a statement about the Flash Rave incident: 

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus turned into a more than usual exciting place Thursday night. The event, know as the “UTC Flash Rave,” and the school spirit shown that occurred at the Lupton Library is to be applauded. Although the exact number of students participating is debatable, I am glad to see such a large number students gather together for a show of spirit.

The “flash rave” took an unexpected turn of events later with some students throwing objects at police officers, crowd surfing off the portico area, and trying to force their way into the library. These events, which were potentially dangerous to a large number of students, were responded to appropriately by the UTC and Chattanooga Police Departments.

As the UTC Student Body President, I respect the UTC and Chattanooga Police Departments for their initial decision to take control of this situation, which ensured the safety of all students; and I completely stand by the university administration on their support of this decision as well.

I equally stand by the students for their interest in hosting a fun event on campus. It is important that we as students celebrate and enjoy our rich heritage at UTC by participating in events such as the one that occurred last night, but it is also important that we remember to respect our great university enough to not behave in an unruly manner.

Although this was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, I believe this creates a wonderful opportunity for the campus community to evaluate the response of authorities so that events can be fun and safe for all attending.

Tyler Forrest

SGA President

FRIDAY AT 3PM

CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — Also arrested were Aaron Schoolfield, Patrick Wright, and Marques Donald for disorderly conduct.  Nicholas Chad Rush was charged with assault and disorderly conduct. 

Clips of the incident are listed in this story. Tell us what you think about the incident in our commenting section. No profanity please. 

Nicholas Rush

CHATTANOOGA (UTC)Chattanooga police arrest one student in the incident for assaulting an officer. They say 18 year old Nicholas Rush hit an officer in the face with a water bottle.

Friday 6am

CHATTANOOGA(UTC)–A student organized “rave”, which turned into a riot, occurred at Lupton Library April 23 at 11 p.m. 

Several hundred students showed up outside at the library. They began chanting “Rave, rave, rave!” and “UTC” after several security guards and one police officer refused the crowd entry into the library. Students were informed of the “rave” via text message and word of mouth.

What at first seemed like good college fun turned into chaos after drink cups and popcorn were thrown at security officers and police. Security officers waved mace at the crowd. Students were body surfing off of the doors to the library.

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Video credit: Daniel Hunley

Officers sprayed mace into the crowd to disperse it. 

“One girl told me that her friend had been maced and that her eyes were swollen shut,” said Emily Bland. “I saw a few guys with their hands over their eyes.”

The ordeal lasted approximately ten minutes, but the library was locked down for approximately 20 minutes. At around 11:20 p.m. students were let into the library to get their belongings. 

Here is close up video of the body surfing from the library doors.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJNTlt_UehI

Seventeen units from UTC and Chattanooga’s police departments arrived on the scene to disperse the crowd. Police were parked in front of Heritage Plaza and in the round about on Vine Street. A police car drove up Cardiac Hill to disperse students.

“I thought it was funny. Let them do it. All these police officers were unnecessary,” said Ajanee Evans. 

The library was reportedly going to be locked down for an hour with the possibility of reopening.

Here is a statement about the incident released by UTC’s Chuck Cantrell, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Relations:

UTC Police and Chattanooga City Police responded to a call Thursday evening about 11 p.m. of a large, disorderly crowd at the Lupton Library.

 Upon arrival, police found a crowd of about 1,000 students congregating outside the library. The crowd began storming the library doors, chanting “Let us in!” “Take the library!” and other statements as they attempted to enter the library. UTC Police told the crowd to disperse.  Instead members of the crowd began to climb up on the library and jump into the crowd.  Some threw items at the police officers on site.

 Police sprayed mace above the heads of students to disperse the crowd.

 The Library was closed for a a little over an hour to allow the crowd to disperse and police regained control of the site.

 Chattanooga City Police made five arrests and issued one misdemeanor citation.

 According to reports to the UTC Police, the event was an event planned by students using text messages and social networks telling students to be at the UTC Lupton Library at 11 p.m. for a party.  Other campuses have reported such incidents.

 “I know that some of the students believe this was a harmless gathering, but when you try to force your way into a building and jumping off buildings, then you’ve gone beyond harmless fun. We are the middle of exam week, and there were students inside the library trying to study and conduct research, and this crowd disrupted the operation of the library. We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Chattanooga Police and the restraint demonstrated by all of the law enforcement officials who responded,” said Chuck Cantrell, assistant vice chancellor for university relations.

 UTC Police and the Office of Student Development continue to investigate the situation.

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Comments

  1. most action c-towns got since the civil war

  2. I thought the police took things extremely too far. Apparently, some guy was hit by the police as well as slammed into the wall. They followed all of us back to our dorm and threatened to aresst alot of us if we decided to come back out for any reason, even when I left to go to Wal-Mart. For once, we were having fun without any violence or destructive behavior (until the police started tazing that is).

  3. kylie williams says:

    There would have been alot less of a problem if the police had given any warning. There was no megaphone, no asking for us to dispurse, instead they immediately maced us… not to mention i have serveral friends with proof of police brutality. One friend of mine was filming and the officer walked up to him and told him to leave and he said man im not doing anything and the cop slapped him, all on camera. What happened was unnecessary and not okay

  4. Megan Hollenbeck says:

    Hmm…Seems like the police need some serious job training. There are several ways to disperse a crowd. Mace should be a last resort. Spraying mace at a crowd is more likely to promote a riot! What do they have to say about that?

  5. kylie williams: If you have that on tape, I would very much like to see it. Email me if you have a link.

  6. Chuck Cantrell’s report was biased and filled with misinformation.

    There is no way almost a 1,000 students were there. Estimates at around 300 seemed large to me, though I think it was a much larger crowd than anyone expected.

    Most students I’ve talked to report that the escalation by the police to using mace came without warning– no request to disperse was heard. One young man was tazered as he tried to climb up onto the library, and others were thrown to the ground and maced by the police. One young man fell down some stairs because he couldn’t see after getting sprayed in the eyes.

    The official report also neglects to report that the students were chanting “UTC! UTC!” as much as “Let us in! Let us in!” Though the event did get out of hand and it is understandable why the police became involved, the official report does not take into account the fact that the event produced a wave of school spirit and was a rare moment when the student body came together.

    As UTC becomes a more residential campus, it will go through growing pains as an on-campus culture develops. Until our school’s personality and character develops, there will probably continue to be tensions between administration disconnected from and unused to student culture and the interests of today’s 18-25 year olds and students at a school unprepared for a unified student body which participates in events. A concert a couple weeks ago at UTC’s campus, for example, went on without incident, but was carefully observed by police. Without condoning the leap over the line the event last night took, it still must be said that there is a great disconnect between students life outside the classroom and administration’s perceptions.

  7. Jeremy Threlkeld says:

    Nicholas Rush(goes by chad) is my roommate a he didn’t throw a water bottle or anything. Him and Heath Wright were accused of assault, tackled, cuffed, and then maced while on the ground. Heath has cuts on his face where the policed kicked him on the ground. Chad was push down the stairs by police while blind and the police told him “you better learn to walk” and laughed about it. Both of them are pretty beat up with cuts and bruises. There are a couple witnesses that are going to testify on their behalf. UTC handled this in the wrong way and it’s going to hurt them with a couple of lawsuits.

  8. Students who have video proof of police brutality and use of excessive force should go to the newspapers and television stations so that people can see what really happened. The reports are making the students look like the bad guys, when in actuality the police got overly excited about the situation and used poor judgement in their actions. Those officers should face some sort of consequences for their actions.

  9. The police were way out of line in breaking up this riot. I understand spraying mace in the air to make the crowd disperse; however, the police followed people as they were leaving the library and were arbitrarily macing students for no reason. For example, I saw a guy who was walking down the stairs, like the police told him to, and when he turned to walk down the stairs, a cop sprayed him with mace from less than 2 feet away. After that, a girl walked down the stairs and that same cop sprayed the girl in the back of the head with mace as she was trying to leave. One of my friends got it all on his video camera. This cop deserves to lose his job and to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It was a completely despicable abuse of power.

  10. I was at the event and saw most of what happened. Officer Torbett, the first officer to spray mace, was indiscriminately macing people. These cops were way out of line, pushing non-aggressive students and beating 2 near the stairs leading from the library to the campus crossroads. Every time I begin to respect law enforcement, they do something like this.

  11. Jeremy up here is right about Mr. Rush I saw the guy who threw the bottle (which landed softly on the arm of the officer) and then I saw Mr. Rush exit Subway (Right next to the shindig) only to be immediately tackled into a brick wall, slammed to the ground to the point that his head bounced twice off of the concrete, and then was even maced because he was trying to tell them he had been inside for the past while. I personally almost got trampled making my way to the library to copy some papers and was nearly maced on two occasions…that’s what the police will do for you in situations like this…take it way out of hand. I mean, the way they were acting… you would think that they could have used a much more peaceful way to disperse the crowd (Which by the way, had the cops not shown it would have been over in 10 minutes with no disturbance other than the music and chanting of “UTC”, by the way whoever is providing you this bogus, biased information was obviously not there or they were wearing a uniform when they were there. I have lost what little respect I had for both the UTC Police and Chattanooga Police, they lied about getting hit in the face (by the way, it was an empty water bottle, I mean, I understand I’m sure that officer wouldn’t want 2 ounces of plastic grazing his arm…that must have really hurt Officer), they acted like irrational, untrained enforcers, they ultimately created much more pain and annoyance to a greater number of people than would have happened had they stayed at the station. I do hope that someone (I know someone has it on tape…I was standing next to you when it happened) will produce the evidence that will show Mr. Rush not throwing the empty bottle that grazed arm the officers arm, being bum-rushed by belligerent officers as he is walking out of Subway, or when they slammed him into the wall, kicked him, and eventually maced him to finish up the cycle…just one of these should help. I feel very bad for everyone that was there that got any sort of injury, be that mace or concussions. I do believe strongly that both the UTC Police and the Chattanooga Police should publicly apologize for their over-rashness in dealing with this situation, and I do believe also that there will be lawsuits…maybe we’ll organize a protest outside the police station and chant “LAWSUIT”…yeah sounds like a good one…don’t you love that First Amendment?

  12. Who is djr i could sure use you as a witness

  13. Jeremy Threlkeld says:

    DJR, I’m glad you spoke up. Here’s the deal, the school if trying to make an example out of Chad and Heath Wright(who was also arrested with Chad and beaten worse). The word spread to the Memphis news and Chad’s mug shot and false accusation was on the news. Mr. Rush has a court date next Thursday for assault and disorderly conduct charges. I’m going to be a witness and testify and Chad’s behalf. It would be awesome if you could also. What would be the most helpful is that you get the tape from your friend. If you can do that then we can talk in person, Chad is in Memphis now. If anyone can help who was there that would be awesome.

  14. Everyone seems to be saying that the police used excessive force. I wasn’t there, but it seems that the crown was completely out of control. This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable and the students involved in organization and violence at the gathering should be punished. Police are trained to approach an unruly crowd in a certain way, and I don’t question there use of mace on a leering mob.

  15. LLE, not to disrespect your opinion but where yut there? I was at the front dorrs when the cops came out. A bullhorn telling everyone to leave or be maced would have sufficed. And no one was trying to break in the librry no matter what the “cops” say. Not one person even put a hand to the door to try and open it, as you can see on the videos, and would be able to see very well if UTC would put up the videos from the library lobby which of course would never happen. One more thing obviously the mob was not unruly as no one was hurt by students, nor besides an apparent arm breaking water bottle throw no cops or other school officials were either.

  16. And to think…. none of this would have happened if these college students learned to participate in something constructive rather than destructive. By the way, aren’t raves supposed to have music with them?

  17. I was near the front doors of the library when the utc police decided to walk out and mace the crowd. I was never told to leave the library, nor did i have the chance, before i got maced. I ended up at the hospital for several hours following the event. Later that night I also filed a police report. I plan to file a civil lawsuit against utc and would encourage anyone who was maced to do the same. The cops should have dealt with this in a different manner. The report that UTC sent out has really got my blood boiling. LIES!!! If anyone has videos of the police assaults please get in contact with me. Phidelt164@vzw.blackberry.net

  18. Well you idiots shouldn’t of been outside the library yelling. Do you really think yall would of listened if they had megaphones? I don’t think so. What yall did was pretty dumb. I’m sorry.

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